Wherein I Am a Credit To My Race

As one of the Tyler Perry ladies left for the day, spreading goodbyes around, she made sure to give me a special message.

Benjamin, you are a credit to your race.

I laughed at the time, partly genuine and partly out of politeness. Then I thought about it. Was this comment, though benign, inherently racist?

Fortunately, I have a 100-percent accurate test for racist comments: Had I, a middle-class white male, said the same or a similar thing to the Tyler Perry lady, would she have laughed it off as I did, with no hard feelings?

Hell no.

Yet this doesn’t insult me. Maybe because masculinity isn’t a gender nearly as much as femininity, I’m used to whiteness being neither a race nor an ethnic identity.


  1. Greg Dawson


    I know this doesn’t really relate to the topic but could someone explain what they think the phrase “You are a credit to -” means. I have my own explanantion for it but i’ve learned that my friends think differently. Please give me your explanations.


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